Has there always been money? Where does it come from? Who determines its value? Are credit cards really money? Does the value of money always shrink with age? What happens when money fails to maintain its power to purchase? What would a totally cashless society look like?
In 1758, philosopher/economist David Hume stated:
Money is not, properly speaking, one of the subjects of commerce, but only the instrument which men have agreed upon to facilitate the exchange of one commodity for another. It is none of the wheels of trade: It is the oil which renders the motions of the wheels more smooth and easy.
We have come a long way since David Hume’s discussions regarding money in the eighteenth century. In my travels I have observed different cultures using some pretty strange things as money: salt, animal hides, wives, cattle, wheat, and beads.
By the way . . . how is your confidence level these days in having all your store of wealth represented by numbers in your bank’s computer?
(Research ideas from Dr. Jackson’s new writing project on Cultural Economics)